Obama Requires Contractors to Disclose Labor Violations

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Jim Snyder and Angela Greiling Keane recently wrote in BLOOMBERG

President Barack Obama signed an executive order today to improve working conditions for employees of federal contractors, some of whom have gone on strike over what they contend are unfair labor practices by companies doing business with the U.S. government.

The order requires companies to disclose labor-law violations from the past three years, and provides guidance to federal agencies on how to weigh the black marks when awarding contracts, according to a White House fact sheet.

“Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to companies that violate workplace laws,” Obama said today as he signed the order. “If a company is going to receive tax dollars, it should have safe workplaces.”

The Obama administration has stepped up efforts aimed at improving working conditions for contractor employees, such as raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Labor unions that typically vote for Democrats also have been pushing for tougher standards on overtime and workplace safety.

The order today would apply to federal purchase contracts with a value of more than $500,000, and will take effect in stages during 2016, according to the White House. There are about 24,000 businesses with federal contracts, employing about 28 million workers, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

“The vast majority of contractors play by the rules,” Obama said. “The ones that don’t play by the rules, they’re not just failing the taxpayers, they’re failing all of us.”

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